Marketing to Women: Is Facebook Making Us Rude and Fat?

October 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

Okay, so the election is coming up and the comments on Facebook are coming faster and getting more rude all the time.  The trash talk really heated up after the first Presidential debate.  I’m stunned at what people will post on Facebook or say on Twitter  – and then I come across the following bit of information.

A new study from professors at Columbia University and the University of Pittsburgh, first publicized in the Wall Street Journal, found that browsing Facebook lowers our self-control.  The effect is most noticeable with people whose Facebook networks are made up of close friends.  Why are we aggressive online?  Experts say we’re less inhibited online because we don’t have to see the reaction of the person we’re addressing.

An Inflated View of Ourselves

Here’s how it happens:  We tend to present an “enhanced” image of ourselves on Facebook. This positive image—and the encouragement we get, in the form of “likes”—boosts our self-esteem. And when we have an inflated sense of self, we tend to exhibit poor self-control.  We somehow adopt a feeling of entitlement and that causes us to lash out at others who don’t agree with our views.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the researchers conducted a series of five studies. In one, they asked 541 Facebook users how much time they spent on the site and how many close friends they had in their Facebook networks. They also asked about their offline lives, including questions about their debt and credit-card usage, their weight and eating habits and how much time they spent socializing in person each week.

A Hefty Side Effect to All That Facebook

Another side effect of all this Facebook bravado is some added weight.  People who spend more time online and have a larger percentage of close ties in their Facebook friends were more likely to participate in binge eating and to have a great body mass index.

So there you have it, ladies – Facebook can make you pudgy and can make you lose your filter like Dorothy’s mother on The Golden Girls.

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